By Alemma Aliu
AS a way of achieving food sufficiency, Edo State Government said it is targeting 17,000 tonnes of rice and 11,000 tonnes of maize by the end of harvest time this farming season.
It noted that crops would be harvested from 6,600 hectares of arable land scattered in the three senatorial districts of the state.
Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Agriculture, Food Security and Forestry, Prince Joe Okojie made the disclosure shortly after an orientation course for several farmers across the state, who have formed themselves into cooperative societies to access part of the N40 billion available loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for farmers in the country.
Okoje said, “This year, we are hoping that we are able to produce about 17,000 metric tonnes by cultivating about 4,400 hectares of rice farm. We are not doing cassava now but maize, we are looking to cultivate about 2,200 hectares and we are hoping that we will be able to cultivate approximately about 11,000 metric tonnes.
“We have engaged a lot of agronomists. We have employed the services of NIRSAL (Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending) that is going to be our technical partner and they are going to bring on board, a lot of agronomists who will help us. We are trying to see how we can deploy best practices for the cultivation of the crops this season and hope that we get a better yield than the one that we got two years ago.
“My take is that once we do this and it is successful, other people that we are trying to get people to come and farm that is not yielding to our call will naturally respond better because they will see the benefit and see that it is not just an academic exercise.”
One of the would-be beneficiaries, who is to farm in Sobe farm settlement in Owan West Local Government Area, Afadama Enotaye told Vanguard that “Before now, we have been having some apprehension but from I have seen today I think the state government is trying to do something very great and we are very happy about it and since we have a productive SA on Agric, we pray that our patience for the past three years now will pay off this time around. We are very prepared to farm and we will make sure on our own part, we are not going to disappoint the confidence that the government is reposing on us as farmers.”